Tag Archives: Depression

Anxiety busters

Anxiety can be a big deal. I know, I’ve lived it and continue to deal with overcoming its challenges. Our brains and bodies and nervous systems can cause all sorts of havoc and experiencing anxiety can be very distressing not only because of the physical sensations but also because of the intrusive and scary thoughts and memories that we can have, especially if they are coupled with other things like trauma or depression. When we are in the midst of this it can be very difficult to separate what we are experiencing from the reality that we are not our thoughts and that what our brains are doing are not real experiences in the moment. That’s not to say that we are not experiencing them, it’s just they are not in the real world. Thoughts are powerful but at the end of the day they are just thoughts and with time and effort we can replace them with Truth.

Our fight / flight / freeze mechanism can keep us in that heightened state of stress and anxiety and troublesome brain activity. So practically what can we do to alleviate some of these symptoms which many of us are facing on an almost daily and nightly basis?

  1. Monotasking

Sometimes it can help to slow down and focus on just one thing at a time to calm down that frantic sense of the many things we need to do that can leave us immobilised. I find that if I am struggling then if I set a five or ten minute timer on my phone I can focus on a task at hand for a few minutes and get ‘out of my head’ a bit more because I have a goal at hand to achieve. That doesn’t mean troublesome thoughts don’t exist but I’m not merely sitting with them and getting lost in them or overwhelmed by them. I’d have still have done my dishes or made something to eat in the meantime, or accomplished whatever small goal I might have, and then be able to take a break and go on to the next thing.

2. Eating well

Speaking of something to eat, it’s important to fuel up our brains and bodies but when we are running on high levels of stress it can be hard to get past the anxiety and depression to be able to take care of ourselves and focus on eating well. Planning in advance during the times when you do feel a bit better or asking someone for advice in this area can help because nutrition will help build us up and provide the energy that our brains need to operate better.

3. Breathing

Deep breathing can help calm the nervous system and get us out of fight / flight mode when thoughts automatically pop up causing us distress to think that there are things we need to fight or flee from. If we can calm our bodies to be in a state of rest and digest rather than fight and flight then we can be better placed to calm that anxiety and get on with our day more productively and healthily. This can take time and practice but it is good to know that something so simple as breathing can help with our wellbeing. Breathe in deeply through the nose, and exhale for a longer count through the mouth, and repeat as often as required to calm the nervous system.

4. Talk to a friend / get support

Anxiety and distressing thoughts can be overwhelming, especially if we feel like we are going crazy or don’t realise that these are ‘normal’ symptoms. Sometimes we need the reassurance that we are not alone, that we are not going to act on these scary thoughts (some of which for heightened anxiety include suicidal or harming thoughts) and we can diffuse what we are going through by chatting to a friend, or a counsellor. Spending time with people, making connections can all help to keep us grounded in the moment that we are in and out of our heads. It also helps to know you’re not the only one going through what you are and that there isn’t something wrong with you for experiencing anxiety and stressful thoughts.

5. Exercise, rest and time outside / in nature

It really helps the mind to keep the body moving, especially if this can involve getting fresh air and exercise outside or going for a walk in nature. There is something calming about the pace of nature and if we can engage our senses to notice the things going on around us in the here and now that can help us get outside of our own heads. That doesn’t necessarily mean distressing thoughts or feelings will automatically go away but they will be alleviated in the moment. Rest and listening to our bodies is also important so make sure you get good sleep as well, and if need be have a nap during the day.

6. Things you can’t control

Our brains are processing so much and especially with the things going on in the world right now it can feel hard to ‘switch off’. We might find ourselves worrying about so many things outside of our control that we can’t do anything about whether in our own lives, those of our friends and families or at the world at large. We can try to make a conscious choice during our waking hours to engage with what we can control rather than worrying about what we can’t. I know it sounds easier said than done, but at least we can try.

7. Creativity

Whether it be cooking, gardening, colouring, drawing, dancing, playing an instrument, or reading or writing a blog or a book, creativity can really help to keep us grounded and engage our hands and our minds in a productive way. So too can learning something new. It might help ease some of that stress even if we start small at first.

8. Faith and the Reality of God

The other week I was trying things to help alleviate anxiety and stress – deep breathing, I started adult colouring again, and for the first time perhaps in years I tuned in to a Ted Talk. The remarkable thing was that that very Sunday at church my pastor talked about all of these things as ways and means people turn to in order to help with stress and anxiety and seeking wisdom (including the ‘art of decluttering’) in how to live and get through these stressful days. It really did make me take notice, as sometimes you know God Is speaking specifically to you. However, he went on to discuss the importance of seeking our wisdom in the True Source of hope and wisdom for life, and the only True source of real Peace – Jesus Christ. We need to ask for the Spirit’s help to reveal the reality of these things to us, we need a saving relationship with the Living God, and that reality is only found in Jesus Christ. I am so grateful that while I may try various things to ‘help me through’ He Is The One Who has saved my soul, Who will hold me fast through this life and bring me safely to Him after death, and Who Is with me each and every day on earth. I have something better than mere ‘tools and techniques’ to get me through, I have a Living Saviour Who loved me and gave Himself for me and Who will be with me in every anxious moment, helping me to look to Him and find Peace. ❤

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Mind your mind….

Believe it or not, your thoughts can influence the course of your life. We need to be aware and mindful of what is going on in our minds and how we are letting things affect us. It can be a jumble in there, but the Truth can make us free, if we know it and apply it.

You might not realise it, but we are also in a spiritual battle, and there is a lot going on that can influence our minds and our thinking. From the lies we are told about ourselves in childhood that shape our sense of self and identity, to the information that we have to process as adults in a changing and challenging world.

Everyday, we allow thoughts to affect us, and it can lead to needing professional help at times, or to affecting our moods.

What is going on in your mind today? What thoughts are you allowing to influence and affect you? Is something from the past creeping into your mind today that either you need to work on or that you need to shut the door on?

Are you able to be present today, are you able to know your identity and worth?

Take your thoughts captive. Don’t let them take you captive. Be blessed. x

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Pandemic getting to you? Keep Going…

You’re not alone. I’ve said it throughout my self care series’ since this all kicked off early 2020, and I say it again: you’re not alone.

I believe that someone out there, or perhaps many of you, needed to hear that today. Sometimes we allow our worlds to grow small, we focus on the big stuff we’re going through or the things that are happening in our lives, and it can feel like we’re the only ones.

People are experiencing this in different ways, and yes, there are some people out there, some of whom may be in your life, who are doing great – or seem to be. Yet for the vast majority of people, this is not necessarily so.

Some of you are really struggling, and I hear you. I just want to send out a word of encouragement to you to keep going. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has gone through some big and painful stuff before. And you know what? I got through it, and so did you. We’re still here, and we still have to keep going.

If you’re doing well just now, remind yourself that someone in your life probably isn’t and take a moment to reach out to them, to lift them up in some way, to be kind. Kindness matters. It changes things. It could even be the difference between life and death. Be kind. Reach out beyond yourself.

If you are finding things tough at the moment, try to identify a healthy solution that might help you make it through your days a bit better.

You might want to connect to some grief counselling, or look for online support, or have someone you can phone, even if it is a helpline, if you are facing Christmas and the holiday season alone. You could reach out to someone, and break the cycle of isolation that you might be in.

If you are doing well, try not to ‘overshare’ this in a way that makes much of your good times to the detriment of others. Be mindful that some people are really going through a lot just now. Can you reach out to do something for them?

If you are stuck in a rut of boredom, try to factor some routine into your day. Do something creative, write, pick up an instrument you haven’t played in a while, go for a walk in the fresh air, draw, cook, get moving. Maybe it’s a good time to do some decluttering? Read a book. There are so many little things we can do, even if for 5 minutes at a time that can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression and boredom. If you need to make sure you check in with someone so that you’re not facing a potential crisis alone.

Keep going, keep taking the next step. Maybe we can’t make a lot of plans right now, but is that such a bad thing? Can this season be one for spiritual growth, for working on or overcoming some deep seated issues, psychological barriers, emotional pain or traumas? Can you become more patient in your day to day life, more appreciative of what you have got rather than chasing the next thing that you would normally do out in society? Can you grow in compassion and empathy for other people? Can you slow down and appreciate the extraordinary in the ‘ordinary’ moments of your life and day?

Keep going. If you’re feeling like you want to give up, recognise that you have possibly absorbed some lies or negative thinking potentially about yourself or your situation. Believe me, I’ve been there. Do you think you’re not good enough, not strong enough, unable to take the next step? Think again. You are worthy, you are precious, you are special, unique, one of a kind, able. Able to do the next one thing. Keep going.

Don’t give up. Life is a lot of little moments and you have persevered through them all so far.

We really can’t do life on our own, and sometimes it takes hitting rock bottom to realise this. I was there as a child when I was ‘bullied’, verbally, emotionally, physically and psychologically attacked by peers on so many sides that I felt I was nothing, and it broke and crushed my spirit on the inside. I believed so many lies about myself and absorbed the bad feelings such that I could not see a way out or a reason for going on in the pain, the intense pain of a child suffering and helpless. Guess what? I kept going. I called upon God from the depths of my soul and He answered me, He sustained me, kept me going and gave me perseverance even in pain. When I was 20 I called upon Jesus, and wow, did He answer me. I didn’t know much about The Living God before although I knew God as an unknown Power and Guiding force in my life before that, but when i called upon Jesus as The Living God, I chose Him, my whole being was flooded with immense love and joy and peace – indescribable and supernatural. This Is Real Love like no other. I was also thrust into a spiritual battle. It was not something I expected at all, but it was more real and tangible than you could imagine. We are being lied to and oppressed by things unseen every day, and only in Christ can you have the Victory – you may not ‘feel’ like it for a while, even for years, but in Him, and only in Him, you have Victory and ultimate love and freedom.

He Is The Way, and perhaps you have been led to read this very blog post for such a time as this. Maybe you didn’t realise that all the answers you are looking for in life are actually available to you, even in this world that seems to be falling apart there IS a God Who comes among us, Who can dwell within you by His Spirit and comfort you with a Peace like nothing the entire riches and love of this world can offer you. His Name Is Jesus. Emmanuel. God with us. Incredible. And He has a place for you. There Is more after this life ends, and He Is The only way for that to be eternal peace and love.

Keep going. And if you know Him, if you know His Love and love Him in return, keep calling out to Him for refreshment, strength, and everything you need to love and honour Him moment by moment, keep interceding for others. If you don’t know Him…yet, know that this is not fiction nor religion nor vain hope or futile belief without reason…there IS a Real God Who can come into your life if you ask Him sincerely from the heart, He can make you a new person from the inside out, wash away your past and either instantly or gradually heal your broken heart and transform your mind as you replace the lies you’ve believed about yourself with The Truth that you are precious and valuable to Him and He died for you.

A lot of this might not make sense, might seem counterintuitive, even illogical. Perhaps you are resting your laurels upon your pride or superiority that everything needs to be measurable or provable by ‘science’. Science is not antithesis to God. All the laws and order of the universe are subject to Him. Yes, the world is chaotic, but we have been told about this beforehand. There is evil in this world, a world in rebellion to Light and Love and Peace of Jesus. God makes things new quietly from the inside out, and He will make all things new. One day you will realise that what these ‘crazy Christ followers’ have been going on about Is actually real…I just hope and pray you will know this in the fulness of His Love for you.

There is Light and darkness, and we are born into darkness. Only Christ can set us free and save and deliver us. This Is Real. I know. I used to think Christians were deluded or hypocritical and that I was somehow more ‘spiritual’ but I didn’t realise how blind I was to the Truth, until I encountered The Living God for myself and the Incredible tangible Love and Power He revealed to me.

So keep going. Don’t give up. Jesus IS a Real Person, He Is for you and will be Emmanuel, God with you if you ask Him to. You will still have trials and struggles, but you will have a God Who will Love you and hold you and help you through it all. He Is Glorious, many of us have glimpsed His Glory have tasted and seen His Love in tangible ways, and one day we will see Him Face to face and all our longings will be fulfilled in His incredible outpouring Love, Perfect, Pure and Redeeming us from all that Is dark within us.

Until that day we are in a spiritual battle, so we keep going. Look to Him. He Is very real. He Is Powerful and He Is Gentle – He can handle you, in your stubborn pride or in your brokenness, right now where you are. He Is The Living God, not a fairy-tale. Once you have encountered Him, you will know. Humble yourself. Ask. Ask Jesus. He Loves you. x

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Do the thing in front of you…. <3

We live in a world where there is so much going on right now, we can allow this to impact negatively upon our thinking, our processing, our existing and living.

We can sometimes look at our day ahead or even worry about our whole life and future and that of those around us and feel a bit overwhelmed.

You’re not alone if you feel that way.

We can only live one day at a time, one moment at a time, and there may be something for you to do today that is part of a bigger picture, a greater plan. Just take that next step, without fear if you can.

Do that next household task, write that new encouraging blog post to lift someone’s mood and day, you never know someone might be reading it, even if you never find out about this, send that encouraging message or text to a friend and let them know they’re not alone.

Do that next thing to take care of your health. Take that next small step. Be present. Don’t let the fear of life take away the joy of living, by faith, today. Even in this troubled world there is still wonder in the small moments. ❤ x

And if you are His, and know the Reality of Him, remind yourself: “This is the day that The LORD has made, let us rejoice and give thanks in it”.

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Ruminator, Rescued or Rescuer….

We all have ‘niggling’ thoughts from time to time. Some of us have had to overcome more traumatic thoughts or episodes in our lives, when thoughts really got ‘stuck’ because we couldn’t process an event or circumstance in our life, especially if we were children at the time.

However, no matter what age you are or were when this thought got ‘stuck’, particularly something negative in your mind that you feel you need to ‘figure out’ or ‘fix’, there are some common patterns.

Sometimes we need to work out traumas and go through a difficult and painful process of talking through things, making sense of something so that we can see it in a new light and process through to get to a better place so that we are not consumed by it. But what if having gone through such a process, or perhaps not necessarily needing to if it wasn’t particularly severe, we still have negative thoughts, feelings or memories popping into our minds? There are definitely times when we need to seek out help for mental health and do the hard work that goes along with that. But at other times we may just be allowing ourselves to indulge in old thought patterns of rumination. For example ‘he said’ or ‘she said’ and getting stuck in someone else’s negative words or opinions about you or the way they treated you that was unkind or unfair.

Having worked through the past, do we fall back into ruminating over it to no end? Do we allow ourselves to remain as a victim (and I know with deep sympathy from experience that there are times when we have been victimised and need to work through that pain and hurt and that’s ok), or do we allow ourselves to move on to being in a sense ‘rescued’, getting help, and then taking that big mental shift in seeing a new identity where we can be strong even in allowing the negative things that we all in different ways experience in our lives in this world to be used for good – do we allow ourselves to move from rescued to rescuer?

Where are you today? Are you allowing negative thoughts from the past to overtake your present moments? Or even looking to the ‘good old days’ and lamenting where you are now instead? Take these thoughts and turn them for good. If you were hurt, seek ways in which you can heal and then eventually reach out to help someone else who might be hurting now. Put this into practice and allow a gradual mental shift from victim to survivor to overcomer to thriver and victor. I believe in our core soul this healing, deep healing is only every fully possible in Jesus Christ, His Love Is a balm, and His suffering can bring victory over evil. Yet no matter where you are in your thinking or beliefs or what you are going through, don’t let your thoughts crush you. Take them, use them and change the track of your mind one thought at time. Seek to know the Truth that will make you free. x

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Making a Difference…

I can sometimes feel a bit down when reading the news headlines and learning more about the terrible and dark things going on in the world. I’m sure each and everyone of you can relate. We weren’t ultimately made for a reality like that, our hearts yearn for something complete, loving, perfect and whole. Our hearts yearn for comfort from within, and an everlasting comfort, for a Love that goes beyond what we see day in and day out around us.

It got me to thinking that while so much bad is going on in the world, each and every one of us can make a difference, even in the smallest of ways, each day of our lives. We can make a difference by sharing kindness, encouragement, Truth and love.

You can make a difference in your blog, in how you treat the person you are with in this moment, of how you treat the people you encounter in your day.

It might not seem much, but it can be. So make a difference today ❤

x

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Don’t compare…

The pandemic hastens on. If you are feeling lonely, struggling, not sure what to do, for whatever circumstances you are feeling stuck at home or left behind while others around you go on living life or seem to be having all the good times, friend, don’t compare.

This advice is as much for me as it is for you. We can only ever live one day at a time. Your journey is completely different to that other person’s with whom you compare. Maybe things are going great for them and not for you, well, lift your focus. Change the direction of your thoughts away from comparison that might just hurt your heart and bring you down and think about what you can do with your life today….even if that thing is just to slow down and to rest.

You matter. I believe you matter to God. I believe that Jesus Christ Is able to help you, and me, and you just need to turn away from what is wrong, including what is wrong inside of you, and ask Him for help. He loves you. And even if you don’t believe, find comfort in knowing that the measure of your life is not a measure against anyone else’s. Take this day as it comes. Look for joy in the small things. Be happy for other people, be kind to yourself and don’t compare. Think that how you are feeling might just be similar to how someone else is feeling right now. Can you reach out to them? Let them know they’re not alone? Can you reach out to someone you don’t even know, someone suffering, some charity? Give as you live. Take things a moment at a time. Be thankful. Stay safe and call out for the Name of Love, the One Who will see you through. ❤ x

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Shifting gears…

Sometimes in life we are very aware of the nature of the ‘season’ we are in. It may, for example, be one of searching for answers, for Truth. It may be one of suffering, in health or circumstances or at the hands of others. It may be one of deep emotional, psychological, physical or mental pain. It may be one of distress such as when a child is bullied and ends up hating themselves. It may be one of survival. It may be one of recovery. It may be one of yearning. It may be one of gain or loss. It may be a season of self discovery, of discovering our gifts or talents, our true identity, it may be one of stepping out in faith or adventure, of friendship, of new beginnings, of new people in our lives. It may be one of struggling against all the odds, of survival, of trauma, of recovery, of post-traumatic growth, of becoming established. It may be one of waiting. It may be one of peace.

Seldom do people spend their entire lives in a season characterised by just one of these elements. Many of us go through suffering or pain. I certainly have. And yet, many of us go on to find healing. Many stay in the process of ‘recovery’ and never quite ‘shift gears’ to embrace something more whole, new or strong and purposeful.

I began this blog at a time of ‘recovery’ from many things that had crushed my heart and soul over many years. They may be different to the things in life you have suffered from, but cumulatively, the things I experienced over time all built up and reached somewhat of a ‘bursting point’ when the pain had to overflow and spill out in tears and in seeking out help and healing. It was a tough time, but it also signified a shifting of gears from in a sense surviving difficult feelings and thoughts and bottling them up to processing them in a form of reliving difficult things from in particular childhood bullying and spiritual attacks and all the various heart hurts and disappointments of going through life in this world in a kind of post-traumatic growth.

Well, this blog began as a shifting of gears in a sense from being someone needing help to seeking to help others by using this platform to write, to share, to help. Now I believe I am shifting gears again, and perhaps some of you are too.

I think the pandemic, the coronavirus and various lockdowns have changed us in many ways. I’ve been able to help other people by writing about tools and techniques to overcome anxiety, to help people with depression and to share faith. I have come to a place of healing as well and from crying out to God, I am more aware of His tangible Presence and Peace and I believe He Is building me up on the inside to trust Him, to take things as they come, and to look forwards and upward to the Sure Hope I have in Christ beyond this earth and body. Many people will be re-evaluating their lives, how they spend their time, what is important. People will be exploring what they think about life and death and after death. Some people take comfort in the idea that there may not be anything after this. I take comfort for myself in the Truth I have experienced that those in Christ Jesus have a glorious future to look forward to. If you’re not sure, now is the time to repent and to call upon His Name and know God’s indescribable Love that Is so Comforting, Peaceful, Pure, Real and True…not religion, but Real Love. I believe Jesus Christ Is the only Way.

I think those who know and love Him are being called to shift gears too. To allow Him to heal us, to build us up, to set us free, and to grow strong in that Love relationship which is quite real. So that we can use our gifts to reach out, even if by way of a computer screen, to help others. To know the spiritual gifts we have in prayer and intercession and encouraging others and share the Truth of Jesus Christ as we learn to know Him better, not as someone we’ve merely read about, but to experience Him for ourselves, and walk in that. Little by little, day by day.

Perhaps this is a season for you to shift gears too. Perhaps you like me have also spent many years of suffering whether inwardly with pain or circumstances, of battling to get strong, and maybe now is your time to *be* strong and to step out and in that. If you are in Christ Jesus, you *are* a New Creation. This is a spiritual reality and you may have experienced this in various ways. Sometimes we have to ‘plod on’ in faithfulness without seeing or experiencing growth in very obvious ways, but then at other times our seasons change and we are no longer those fearful creatures shackled by chains of fear, of the past or of struggle and suffering although these are parts of life. We learn to look up, we learn to draw on that Pure Love and Sure Hope and stay connected to Him and even if our outward lives might look ‘weak or foolish’ to the world, our spiritual lives can blossom as we know His Love, rest in it, and intercede for a world that is blind and lost without Him.

Maybe you are not a believer but this is a season of shifting gears in your life. Maybe you have something to accomplish, or do or figure out. We all know, especially in these days, that time is short. Maybe that will be the nudge that helps to get us in gear and live out the rest of our lives in a new way. God bless. x

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Encourage Each Other…

There is power in encouragement. Even the smallest gesture can make a real difference to someone. You might not realise what that difference is, but if you can, where you can, by whatever means you can, encourage other people, and better still ‘each other’ in mutual encouragement.

I’m a follower of Christ Jesus (since He Illuminated my life in a very powerful way when I called upon Him 18 years ago, and He has been tangibly present in my life ever since, despite occasions when I’ve not experienced His Love or Presence as closely. I am so grateful to be experiencing His Love and Peace and Presence and inner healing more keenly these days, and the comfort of His Spirit, despite the ongoing challenges of being human!). He Is Real – the Living God, and I pray you will one day call upon His Name in repentance and experience His Saving Grace and the Reality of the Greatest, Purest Love you can ever know. Without repentance there is no forgiveness of sin, yet when we do repent, turn to Him and accept this incredible, free gift of Grace from what the Lord Jesus accomplished through His Blood shed at the Cross, our slate is wiped clean, we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and made new from the inside, and saved from all that our sin deserves. Incredible.

As Christians, we are commanded to “encourage one another” (Hebrews 10), to build each other up (Romans 15:2), to “encourage one another and build each other up…” (1 Thessalonians 5:11), to “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2) and we are told that “love is the most excellent way” (1 Corinthians 12:31).

Many people underestimate the power of encouragement. It could perhaps turn someone’s life around. Maybe you’ve been in a painful place and people started treating you with worth and kindness and it seemed radical to you! I’ve been there. The Love of God can change us. Perhaps someone has been having difficult thoughts and feeling unworthy of life, and an act of encouragement, of kindness and love might just impact their life path.

Many people fail to realise that we are also in an intensely fierce spiritual battle. There are things going on around us in the unseen realm that born again Christians, like myself, have experienced. These aren’t thoughts, or hallucinations or mental illnesses, but there are real, tangible spiritual forces of darkness, influencing our lives, and there are also spiritual beings of light. There is a war going on for people’s souls, and Jesus Christ Is the Only Saviour. This is not fiction, nor a story book or an overactive imagination. I have experienced so many things that I didn’t know at the time were in the Bible, but there is a real battle in the unseen realms, not just human action but spiritual realities of good and evil, having an influence on what happening around us.

For Christians, prayer is therefore so important, to call upon The Living God. Read the book of Job in the Old Testament. I’ve had some experiences that made me feel a lot like Job at the time. We find it hard to understand sometimes why God allows certain things to take place, but although we don’t have all the answers now, we do have the directives of how to respond, in faith, in prayer, in love and waging ‘war’ in the unseen spiritual realm through faithful prayer, fasting, connection with The Living God, using the Word of God in our lives and renewing our minds, helping and caring for each other, etc.

Anyone, whether or not you know Christ personally, can gain from encouragement, although ultimately your only true hope can be found in Him, the Door to Salvation, the only One Who can save you from an eternity apart from Him, or a life on earth now apart from His tangible love and indwelling Spirit.

Our minds are constantly bombarded by negative messages in this world. We are tempted constantly to fear, worry, anxiety, and I don’t think there are many people nowadays who are immune to these, sometimes overwhelming, thoughts and feelings. We all need encouragement, and we all need to give it too. This is one way we can ‘strengthen the brethren’ and also a way in which we can show care and kindness to anyone.

I hope you have found something of worth in this message. Encourage someone in your life today – you never know what difference it might make, to them and to you. x

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Do your anxious thoughts need an outlet?

Anxiety is not uncommon, especially, at the time of writing, in a global pandemic.

Sometimes our anxious thoughts and imaginings can render us immobile and ‘incapable’ of doing something useful or productive. We might even slump into a depressive state where we want to hide and retreat.

If you are struggling with your anxious thoughts and feelings, as well as the practical steps that I have highlighted in other blog posts (simply do a ‘search’ for ‘anxiety’ on my blog and you’ll find lots of helpful articles), you might feel the need to have an outlet for your thoughts.

Talk to Someone who cares about you:

A helpful thing to do to rationalise and untangle some of our difficult thoughts could be to talk to someone who knows you and cares about you and who will listen. If you feel like you don’t have such a person in your life, maybe you can phone a mental health helpline to talk through things with someone or even contact a doctor if you need to. Talking to a trusted friend or family member, even if it isn’t face to face, can help to alleviate your feelings of stress and anxiety and they may be able to help you make sense of some of your thoughts, or even offer a better or more helpful perspective on things. Talking things through can help get you out of your own head space, especially if you are not able at the current time to make sense of things or find a better perspective.

Write it down:

Writing can help externalise thoughts that you are keeping bottled up inside of yourself. As well as writing to make sense of things for your own well being, you could also try to think of ways in which you would help a friend who was struggling with the things you are just now. Imagine or think of what you would say to someone who needed help or encouragement with the problem you are facing, and try to apply that kind and encouraging advice to yourself. Perhaps you could even try blogging about your experience to share and find connection with others.

Read:

On a similar note, we can feel much less alone when we are able to read or hear about other people who are going through or have overcome things that we might be finding challenging. In a pandemic you are not alone in feeling anxious and uncertain, and you might be able to connect with others of a like mind and help each other through. As a note of caution, try not to focus too much on things that are problematic, but try to find solutions as you read and learn more about things you and others are experiencing in life.

Break things down:

When our thoughts get the better of us, it may be because we have too little distance from them. Try breaking things down. If you have a thought that distresses you, why not write it down, and analyse it to find a more helpful perspective, or ask a friend or family member to help you with this.

For example, if you have a thought ‘I just don’t know what’s going to happen or how I’ll handle the future’, take a step back from it, take a look at it and how it is making you feel, and find a better way of looking at it that will help you move forwards.

Know that many, many people right now have such thoughts and fears. Maybe we don’t know how we’ll handle a big, unknown future, but can we handle the next five minutes, the next day? If that seems more manageable start there and build on from that, write down some practical steps you may need to take in looking at future plans or decisions, and ask someone for help and advice so that you don’t need to go it alone.

Take a break:

It can be hard focusing on the negative cycle of thoughts all the time, so make sure you don’t do that. Easier said than done, right? Find something that will intercept your thoughts in a more productive way, for example, plan some small activities that will absorb your mental energy and focus. This could be something like cooking a meal, or making a simple sandwich or a cup of tea. It could be taking five or ten minutes to engage in a creative pursuit. It could be taking time to read a book, or a helpful blog, or to talk to a friend.

Add structure:

Following on from the above, planning little activities or ‘chunks of time’ can help add structure to your day and can help move you through the day in a less anxious way. Knowing what you have to do in the morning, afternoon and evening can help take you away from a whirlwind of thoughts and can help you find enjoyment and productivity along the way.

Look to the needs of others:

Sometimes looking away from our own thoughts to the needs of others can be a real help for ourselves too! Helping someone else, even in a small way, can take our thoughts outwards, so that we can focus on the needs of someone else. It will help us realise that we are able and capable and can do things that bring comfort to someone else as well as receiving help which is totally ok too.

Fresh air and outdoors:

As well as looking to the needs of others, we can look up into the beauty of the world around us. We face so much of the world that is negative through our computer screens and the constant stream of news that we receive. Looking at the natural world can really help to calm our minds and nervous systems, and even bring new thoughts to us.

As well as looking up and out at nature, we may find the benefit of reaching up in Faith. ❤

I hope some of these tips have been helpful for you. You’ve made it another day in this pandemic, and if you’re feeling anxious, know that you’re not alone. Take it one step at a time, one day at a time, and try to find something to enjoy today, even if in the smallest of moments.

Take care. Be blessed. ❤ x

Photo by Andrew Neel on Pexels.com